The long term sustainability of household bio-sand filtration

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BSFs performed nearly as well after 4 years of use. Households with poorer filter performance tended to over-clean their filter, indicating that more training was necessary.
TitleThe long term sustainability of household bio-sand filtration
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsFewster, E, Mol, A, Wiessent-Brandsma, C
Conference Name30th WEDC International Conference
Abstract

The introduction of intermittently operated slow sand filters, suitable for use at household level, is gaining momentum in the developing world. An estimated 100,000 bio-sand filters are already in use, providing improved drinking water to more than half a million people. Lab and field research has shown that bio-sand filters are capable of impressive reductions of turbidity and pathogen levels. However, long-term sustainability, social acceptance and appropriateness have not been well documented. An evaluation was therefore conducted in rural Kenya to measure the performance of filters introduced 4 years previously. Measuring turbidity and E.coli removal rates, maintenance practices and user perceptions, the study found all but one filters still in use with over 70% producing water of good quality. Underperformance of some filters pointed at poor maintenance habits. As a ‘point of use’ water treatment solution, bio-sand filters seem very appropriate, effective and cheap. Strategies to introduce this promising technology at a large scale need to be seriously investigated.

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